I’d never felt particularly drawn to painting on stones before and I can’t quite remember how I came to start this project. It was likely the quest to create some new, handmade gift items for any possible summertime visitors to the studio… something new and easy to pack in a suitcase. Somehow, after a few weeks of frenzied stone-painting in February, I seem to have ended up with around 100 of them!
The stones were a natural progression from painting the feta tins, in that similar imagery and colours worked well on the stones. Every substrate has its own challenges in terms of materials and, as with the feta tins, it took me a little while to figure out the best approach to painting them. In the end, I settled on a base coat of a rather fabulous chalk paint which the local hardware shop stocks. It can be used without an undercoat and seems rather robust as well as having a nice, matt finish. As it’s a spray, it can’t be used inside the studio, so for several weeks now, I’ve been carting piles of stones backwards and forwards from the studio to our garden, where I’ve set up a spray-station for them.
After the base coat(s) the stones go back to the studio and are decorated with a mixture of acrylic paints and paint pens. Some recently purchased hybrid craft paint I bought for painting fabric, also works really well on a stone surface. When the designs are finished, they go back to the avli for a couple of coats of spray varnish. Then finally back down to the studio for signing the backs, photographing and pricing up. Phew!
Like the feta tins, the designs are all ‘made up’ as I go along and each one is unique. I tried painting a few landscape scenes but found I enjoy creating the doors, windows and cycladic houses with washing lines so much more. So the landscapes remain unfinished, while the street scenes have multiplied! In size the stones range from really tiny (some of the smallest have been made into fridge magnets) to big doorstop size.
I’ve had to force myself to stop for a while to get on with other projects but have undercoated quite a few more stones ready for design work later on. It was rather difficult to stop actually… I can highly recommend stone painting as a therapeutic and highly creative lockdown pass time.